Clanfield and Bampton Historical Society
October 16th 2012. 'Oxfordshire Place Names'. Anthony Poulton-Smith
Anthony Poulton-Smith has, he told us, written some 15 books on place names, and he needed constant reference to them and others at the society's October meeting. His talk, though entitled 'Oxfordshire Place Names' , made reference to just three, including that Clanfield means 'clean (i.e without trees and shrubs) field'.
Grandmothers and sucking eggs comes to mind.Though the Pelican in Christ Church quad features on the cover of his book on Oxfordshire, and in his section on Eynsham, it was left to one of the society's members to make him aware- discreetly,after the talk- of its Christian significance.
After just 30 minutes,during which we learned that he 'hated the Romans' and his erstwhile history teacher, and rather more than we needed to know of his own marital status- he added the surname of his first wife to give him the hyphenated Poulton because he did not want to be just ' A Smith' (which went down very well with the Society's Chairman) and kept it when she left him- he then asked for questions, which members, polite and well-mannered as ever, dutifully supplied: few were answered without recourse to his reference books and there was a general relief when it ground to a halt. More wine than usual was drunk afterwards.
After such a start to the 2012-13 season , there can only be improvement, which looks assured when Tim Porter will talk to the society on 'Matilda', her fight for the Throne' on November 20th at 7.30pm in the Carter Institute, Clanfield. Matilda of course had strong connections with with Oxfordshire-she escaped in dramatic fashion from Oxford Castlewhen it was besieged by the army of Stephen, her rival for the throne- and especially in this part of the county. She had a castle in Bampton ans also one as part of the garrison at Radcot, on land owned by society members Tom and Pippa Freeman, which was the subject of a televised Time Team dig in 2008.